Since its arrival in Australia, ride-sharing app Uber has showed no signs of slowing down in popularity. Figures from Roy Morgan show that nearly 3.7 million Australians travelled by Uber in the three months leading to December 2017. This is nearly a 3 million increase from less than two years prior.
While many hail the service as convenient and inexpensive, others haven't been so eager to get onboard with the ride-sharing app.
How has Uber's popularity impacted Australian taxi drivers?
The same Roy Morgan research also showcased the effect Uber has had on the Australian taxi industry. They measured the percentage difference between people travelling by Uber in 2015 and in 2017, as well as the same difference in taxi rides. In NSW alone, Uber saw a 12.7 per cent increase in these two years, while taxis took a 1.6 per cent decrease in the same time period.
This has caused more upset than expected, leaving Uber faced with one of the biggest class actions in Australian legal history.
What is the class action about?
While people may feel that Australia's taxi driving community are jealous of Uber's sudden takeover, this isn't the reasoning behind the major class action. Instead, they're suing the ride-sharing app over allegations the company stole their livelihoods by operating illegally.
The class action began in Victoria, where around one thousand drivers claim they lost business when Uber entered the market without legal approval in 2014. As a result, they are seeking $500 million in damages for the loss of income and for the devaluing of taxi and hire car licence plates over the four year period to 2018.
In recent days, the Victorian class action announced its plans to expand nationally to include New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. They hope this involvement will encourage more drivers and licence owners to seek justice for the ride-sharing giant's illegal operation.
Workers compensation in the driving industry
All taxi companies in Australia are legally obligated to provide workers compensation for employees – however, Uber is not. This leaves many drivers vulnerable if injury occurs on the job. While gig economy workers wait for structured legislation, Uber has meanwhile announced its plans to provide free accident insurance cover to ensure drivers are better protected if things go wrong. It provides a $400,000 lump sum for accidental death or disability, up to $2,000 for fractured bones and up to $10,000 for funeral expenses.
If you have questions about your workers' compensation rights, or believe you are eligible to make a claim, get in touch with the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today.